Pattern Design for the Rest of Us
 

Creating Repeat Patterns: Pattern Explorer

NEW in SymmetryMill 2
SymmetryMill's Pattern Explorer gives you a broad overview of patterns that you can create from your source image. To start the Explorer, click the Start Explorer button in the middle of the Pattern window or choose Tools > Start Explorer.
Starting Pattern Explorer
Hover the mouse pointer over the Pattern window to show the Start Explorer button.
While the Explorer is running, SymmetryMill creates one pattern after another, each time with different settings. Parameters are chosen automatically from within their respective most commonly used ranges so that relatively substantial changes are typically followed by smaller ones, giving you both a wide selection of patterns and a sense of how the patterns can be tweaked further.
A few of Explorer patterns
Exploration continues until you click the Stop Explorer button or choose Tools > Stop Explorer.
Stopping Pattern Explorer
Hover the mouse pointer over the Pattern window while the Explorer is running to show the Stop Explorer button.
The intermediate stages of the Explorer history accumulate in the Explorer Track, which is shown when the Explorer stops. To browse the history, click within the Explorer track or press the Left or Right arrows on the keyboard.
Explorer Track
Hold down the Shift key and press the Left or Right arrow to jump by bigger steps.
Press the Space key on the keyboard to re-run the Explorer history starting from any selected step.
Note: The Explorer track is not intended for long-term storage. It can be automatically cleared when you edit the pattern, as well as on other occasions.
Since the Explorer track is volatile, you should always save patterns that you like—or patterns that you wish to refine—as snapshots. That will let you reproduce the selected patterns and work on them at a later time.
Explorer Track
Settings used by the Explorer are stored in the Explorer Preferences dialog. To open the dialog, click the Explorer Preferences button in the Pattern window toolbar..
Explorer Preferences dialog
By default, the Explorer alters all the pattern parameters, scales the control path, and moves it around the source image area, giving you a very broad variety of patterns. However, you can also explore only one facet (or several facets) of pattern making. Once you deselect a checkbox in the Explore section, SymmetryMill will try to preserve your current setting for that parameter as much as possible while changing the other parameters. For instance, if you deselect the Filters checkbox, the Explorer will create patterns using only the currently selected source image filters (or no filters, if none are selected in the Filters panel).